While teenagers are buying gaming consoles and keeping up with the latest fashion trends, Babalwa Sokupha is breading cattle and sheep. He wants to prove to the world that you do not need to be an adult to love farming, which he intends to pursue for the rest of his life.
Sixteen-year-old Sokupha, who lives in Mahikeng in the North West, told Vutivi News he was much younger when he realised that farming was in his blood.
“When I was young, my father and I used to visit other farmers to see how they farm and engage in agriculture so that my dad could be able to farm successfully and make a profit,” he said.
“… I was fourteen (when) my father gifted me with a pregnant cow. That cow gave birth to a bull cow and I decided to sell the bull cow for two heifers Both heifers fell pregnant and I ended up having six cows.”
Sokupha, who comes from a family of farmers, said he gravitated towards breeding sheep, which is now his main focus, when he visited another farm.
“In 2017, the same year that my heifers fell pregnant, I went to another farm with my uncle and cousin to buy a ram, and while I was there I started wondering if I should venture into breeding sheep,” he said.
This was also prompted by difficulties he was experiencing with cattle. He sold his heifers to raise money for the sheep.
“The reason why I sold the cows is because they had reproductive issues. One cow gave birth to a dead cow, and another was taking so long to reproduce that I became fed up and was encouraged by this to sell,” Sokhupa said.
Since selling his cattle, Sokhupa is now the proud owner of 12 sheep.
Unlike other teenagers, he puts his pocket money to “good use”.
“My peers prefer buying PlayStation 5 and X Box consoles, but I prefer using my pocket money to buy myself a cow or a goat or a sheep,” he said. “I know that with livestock you can get a return for your money, unlike owning a console.” Sokhupa can only check on his precious livestock during the weekends or holidays, as he is still in high school.
While farming is his life, Sokhupa does find time to be a typical teenager. “Every now and then I hook up with my friends and we spend time together,” he said. He plans to study agriculture when he completes high school.